Tyler Perry reigned supreme at the 41st NAACP Image Awards on February 26 in Los Angeles, where he was honored for both his small-screen and feature film efforts.
The NAACP event, which aired on Fox, drew high-profiled celebrities and dignitaries, including Sandra Bullock, CNN’s Roland Martin, Jill Scott, Cicely Tyson, John Legend and Anika Noni Rose,. Rose and actor Hill Harper hosted the telecast.
Singer Anthony Hamilton called the awards show a celebration of everything that is right in the African-American community.
“It’s about Black,” Hamilton said. “It’s about the development of Black, it’s about building Black; not just Black, but from our perspective to show people how we celebrate and what we do. There’s so much to our community.”
Part of that development included uplifting those who have faced challenges, such as Van Jones, who formerly served as President Obama’s environmental advisor. Jones stepped down from that job amid controversy surrounding a petition he allegedly signed which tried to tie the Bush administration to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
After a year of having to deal with sharp criticism, Jones received a moment of redemption when the NAACP honored him with the President’s Award.
“I’m honored and deeply moved,” Jones said. “The NAACP has played such a positive role in making America stronger and better. My whole family benefited from lawsuits they brought to desegregate the same county I grew up in. So, to be on this stage is a big honor for me.”
Other winners included music mogul Clarence Avant, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame. But the night clearly belonged to Perry, who was presented with the NAACP’s Chairman’s Award.
Perry’s TV show “House of Payne” walked away with four awards, including outstanding comedy series, best actress in a comedy series (Cassi Davis), outstanding supporting actor (Lance Gross) and outstanding supporting actress (Keshia Knight Pullman).
The Perry machine then dominated the film portion of the awards show, winning seven categories. Newcomer Gabourey Sidibe beat out Sandra Bullock for outstanding actress in a motion picture for her stirring role in “Precious.”
“Precious,” which Perry co-produced with Oprah Winfrey, was a victor in six film categories, with winners including director Lee Daniels, screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher and supporting actress Mo’Nique. Adam Rodriguez solidified Perry’s big night when he captured the outstanding supporting actor in a motion film for his work in “I Can Do Bad All by Myself.”
“Tyler Perry has a huge following and whatever he touches turns to gold,” Lance Gross said backstage after receiving his supporting actor Image Award. “He rubbed off on me a little bit. It’s a blessing to be honored by the NAACP.”